Archive for the ‘WW2 Wrecks/Discoveries’ Category

The Forgotten Battle: The Japanese Invasion of Alaska

April 8th, 2014 Administrator No comments

In the early morning of 6 June 1942, 500 Japanese soldiers landed on Kiska, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. They took the only inhabitants of the island, a ten man (and six dog) US Navy Weather Detachment by complete surprise and quickly took control of American soil. Today, the island is one of the USA’s National Historic Landmarks: the aftermath of the Japanese invasion can still be seen on the rolling hillsides of Kiska.

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WW2 planes could force closure of Scottish beach

November 11th, 2011 Administrator No comments

A beach in Scotland may have to be closed to the public following the discovery of radioactive material.

According to a report by The Herald newspaper, “significant” sources of radiation were recently found on Dalgety Bay in Fife, a site where about 200 radioactive particles have been discovered previously. It’s believed the potentially dangerous material has come from decomposing aircraft from the Second World War, which were dismantled in the area.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said yesterday that a specialist team is being brought in to remove a source of significant radioactive content which is buried at depth.

The Herald reported that the source is believed to be radium-coated instrument panels which were used during the war to allow pilots to view their aircraft’s dials at night. If the material was exposed naturally then it would pose a risk to local residents, SEPA said in a statement.

If parts of the beach were to be designated radioactive contaminated land, in order to protect the public, it would be the first time such action has been taken in the UK. SEPA has said this would be a last resort.

Anyone visiting the beach at Dalgety Bay is advised not to remove any material and to wash their hands following their visit.

Japanese WW2 submarine wreck found in Pacific

November 11th, 2011 Administrator No comments

An Australian Navy minehunter has found the lost wreck of a suspected Japanese World War Two submarine off the South Pacific outpost of Rabaul, Australian defence officials said on Friday.

The wreck is 55 metres below the surface in Simpson Harbour in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

“The wreck is partially buried in the harbour floor but remains upright,” the Defence Department said.

“The Royal Australian Navy RAN.L will now work with Japanese authorities to assist in determining the wreck’s identity.”

The wreck was found by the Australian navy minehunter HMAS Gascoyne, which was helping to find and neutralise unexploded ammunition from World War Two in the South Pacific nation.

Rabaul, on the northern tip of the island of New Britain, was the site of fierce fighting during World War Two, and became Japan’s key naval base for the southwestern Pacific from 1942.

Rabaul’s harbour, surrounded by active volcanoes, is popular with divers due to the easy access to war wrecks…

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WW2 RAAF Spitfire wreckage discovered

November 10th, 2011 Administrator No comments

The wreckage of a Royal Australian Air Force Spitfire and the skeletal remains of the pilot have been unearthed by amateur aviation historians.

The plane was shot down in action during World War Two, near the French village of Hardifort in May, 1942.

The fighter pilot has been indentified by his tags as WJ Smith of the RAAF, service number 400942.

The former mayor of Hardifort, Jean Bogaert, helped the researchers find the wreckage. He recalled seeing the plane crash when he was 20-years-old, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The wreckage will eventually be moved to a former rocket base turned war museum called La Coupole.

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RAF veteran reveals amazing WW2 photos

September 21st, 2011 Administrator No comments

IT may have been more than 70 years since Bill Smith was first called up during World War Two, but he remembers his service days with amazing clarity.

That’s helped in part by the fascinating photos the great-grandfather has painstakingly looked after.

Last week we told how a photo of Bill appeared in the Sunday Sun in 1942, when he and his friends were snapped reading the paper in the Libyan desert.

Now, the 92-year-old has opened his scrapbook to reveal the scores of other photos taken during his six-year tour for his country, as a Leading Aircraftman (LAC) with 221 RAF Squadron, each

revealing how – amidst the horror of war – there was much of the world for a young man from Washington to discover.

Photos of King George VI’s and Winston Churchill’s visit to the African desert, the Egyptian pyramids and groups of smiling, suntanned RAF servicemen are countered by scenes of devastation in Malta, crashed fighter planes and bombing raids.

“I took my camera everywhere and kept it wrapped in a blanket to keep the sand out,” said Bill.

Bill was just 21 years old when he was called up, his skills as an engineer needed by his country…

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World War II plane crashes and explodes at West Virginia air show leaving pilot dead

September 18th, 2011 Administrator No comments

A World War II-era plane has today crashed and burst into flames on a runway at a West Virginia air show, killing the pilot.

The T-28 aircraft plummeted to ground shortly after it performed a routine belly-to-belly with another plane. Officials reported no injuries among spectators at the Martinsburg airfield.

The crash comes a day after a stunt pilot in Nevada crashed at an air show there, killing nine.

West Virginia Air National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Nathan Mueller said the T-28 aircraft crashed more info

while it performed during a routine at the Thunder over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show in Martinsburg. The crash occurred at 2.32pm at the 167th Airlift Wing during a stunt where two T-28s were flying belly-to-belly, the Journal of Martinsburg reported.

After the aircraft split, the plane that was heading west out of the manoeuvre wobbled and went straight into the ground, disintegrating into a ball of fire upon impact, the paper reported…

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P51 Crashes at Reno Airshow

September 17th, 2011 Administrator No comments

The P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost flown by 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward crashed violently near the grandstands, possibly in the box seat area, at the Reno Air Races in Nevada, Friday, possibly resulting in multiple casualties. The aircraft appears to have come down in a near vertical angle at high speed. Early reports state that “an official” at the event described the crash as a “mass casualty situation.” Reports late Friday suggest at least three people died and more than 50 were taken to hospital, some with critical injuries. The crash took place at about 4:15 p.m. during an Unlimited Gold heat. Leeward, an Ocala, Fla., real estate developer, was a longtime EAA director and experienced racing pilot.

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Display pilot’s incredible escape from World War Two fighter as he bails out after mid-air collision at airshow

July 26th, 2011 Administrator No comments

P51 Mustang
photo source

A pilot had a miracle escape yesterday when he bailed out of his Second World War plane after a mid-air collision at an airshow.

Thousands of people watched as the P-51 Mustang plane clipped wings at the annual display show and plummeted to the ground south-west of the former World War Two RAF Duxford base in Cambridgeshire, yesterday.

Pilot Rob Davies parachuted to safety following the mid-air accident at the Flying Legends show which happened after three planes had formed a triangle in the sky.

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Dutch guys find German Sturmgewehr STG44 in the Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge.

July 26th, 2011 Administrator No comments

Dutch guys find German Sturmgewehr STG44 in the Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge.

WW2-era sunken ships leaking oil in Florida, elsewhere

July 21st, 2011 Administrator No comments

Imagine last summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill happening in slow motion, millions of gallons of oil fouling beaches and fishing grounds over decades instead of months.

That’s the kind of long-term disaster federal environmental officials say could happen as thousands of World War II-era shipwrecks erode in coastal waters around the world.

After nearly 70 years under the sea, those ships have reached the point where their steel fuel tanks and cargo holds could soon give way, emptying their contents into the surrounding water.

One of the ships on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s watch list is the Joseph M. Cudahy, which rests in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida.

Three days out of Houston, the oil tanker was bound for Pennsylvania with 77,444 barrels of fuel and lubricating oil.

Then the U-boat struck.

The German submarine torpedoed the unarmed merchant ship at 4:15 a.m. on May 5, 1942, off the coast of Naples. The Cudahy became one of three tankers torpedoed by U-507 within a few hours that morning…

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WW2 ammunition cart comes to light

July 10th, 2011 Administrator No comments

DEVELOPERS Persimmon have unearthed a Second World War ammunition cart on their site at Maiden Beech in Crewkerne.

The cart (officially a “caisson”, pictured below), was a large trailer which held two boxes for ammunition and ancillary equipment, and was towed behind an artillery piece, or heavy gun.

Persimmon very kindly notified Crewkerne Town Council and Crewkerne Museum, enabling the find, which was buried about two metres down in a small quarry, to be assessed by the museum and recorded by a series of photographs.

It seems likely that this caisson may have been attached to an anti-aircraft gun, in association with a searchlight post.

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Nazi warplane lying off UK coast is intact

April 10th, 2011 Administrator No comments

A rare World War Two German bomber, shot down over the English Channel in 1940 and hidden for years by shifting sands at the bottom of the sea, is so well preserved a British museum wants to raise it.

The Dornier 17 — thought to be world’s last known example — was hit as it took part in the Battle of Britain.

It ditched in the sea just off the Kent coast, southeast England, in an area known as the Goodwin Sands.

The plane came to rest upside-down in 50 feet of water and has become partially visible from time to time as the sands retreated before being buried again.

Now a high-tech sonar survey undertaken by the Port of London Authority (PLA) has revealed the aircraft to be in a startling state of preservation.

Ian Thirsk, from the RAF Museum at Hendon in London, told the BBC he was “incredulous” when he first heard of its existence and potential preservation.

“This aircraft is a unique aeroplane and it’s linked to an iconic event in British history, so its importance cannot be over-emphasized, nationally and internationally,” he said.

“It’s one of the most significant aeronautical finds of the century.”

Known as “the flying pencil,” the Dornier 17 was designed as a passenger plane in 1934 and was later converted for military use as a fast bomber, difficult to hit and theoretically able to outpace enemy fighter aircraft…

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World War II grenade found in home of veteran who recently died

February 21st, 2011 Administrator No comments

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s bomb squad on Monday removed a World War II-era practice grenade uncovered by cleaners in a north Glendale home, officials said.

The grenade’s owner was a World War II veteran who recently died and had stored it in his home in the 2900 block of Oakendale Place, Glendale police officials said.

“That’s common — for veterans to bring items back from war,” Officer Matt Zakarian said.

The person taking care of the veteran’s estate had hired someone to help him go through the veteran’s possessions, which is when he found the grenade and called police, Zakarian said…

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Japan Steps Up Search for Iwo Jima Dead

February 15th, 2011 Administrator No comments

Sixty-six years after the bloody battle of Iwo Jima, the Japanese government is accelerating an unusual project to search for the large number of undiscovered remains left on the Pacific island.

“We will make it a national priority to gather up the bones and bring them home as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday. He was speaking at a ceremony at a Tokyo war memorial where the remains of 822 soldiers found during the past year were handed over to government officials by a group of volunteers participating in excavations.

The number of soldiers was far larger than the several dozen whose remains were found annually in the past—and is likely to be larger yet in the fiscal year starting April 1, when the government plans to send 600 people, including a number of student volunteers, to participate in the search.

Until last year, four yearly search missions were conducted by groups of 20 or so.

The recent success stems from new research by Japanese officials at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C., part of a project initiated by Mr. Kan soon after he took office in June. They found documents identifying several mass graves of Japanese soldiers, where excavation efforts are now concentrated.

In late winter and early spring of 1945, the U.S. and Japan fought one of the fiercest battles of World War II on Iwo Jima, a speck of land between Japan and Guam. More than 8,000 Americans were killed—either in action or later from their wounds—while some 19,000 more were wounded. An estimated 23,000 Japanese died in the fighting. The battle is became famous in the U.S. for a photograph showing Marines raising the flag on a mountain at the island’s southern tip. It recently inspired the 2006 Clint Eastwood movies “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Flags of Our Fathers.”…

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Aussie pilot’s Spitfire “just scrap metal”

February 11th, 2011 Administrator No comments

The nephew of a Australian World War II pilot whose fighter plane was recovered in northern France is indifferent as to who gets to keep the aircraft, maintaining it’s only “scrap metal”.

Australian Flight Lieutenant Henry `Lacy’ Smith’s Spitfire was dug out of an estuary in Ouistreham, in Normandy, northern France, in November by French war museum owner Fabrice Corbin and his family and friends.

The plane was gunned down in action on June 11, 1944, just five days after the D-Day landings.

Two-thirds of a century later, Flt Lt Smith’s remains, which were recovered from the broken plane, will be buried with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Ranville, in Normandy, on April 19.

When he was asked to hand the Spitfire over to French police, an irate Mr Corbin said he felt like he was being treated like a grave robber. “After what happened, I think I should not have done it. I should have left the pilot rotten in the cockpit,” he said this week via an interpreter. Being a British plane, the Spitfire was initially offered to the United Kingdom before French authorities asked their Australian counterparts if they were interested in it.

The RAAF is now looking into options for possibly bringing the aircraft to Australia, a defence attache at the Australian Embassy in Paris said…

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